IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT
Access the County Court Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com
December 16, 2015
Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station, county website, and e-mail distribution list, a regular meeting of the County Court was held at the County Courthouse in Canyon City, OR.
9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Laurie Wright, Eastern Region Coordinator Scott Fairley, Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams, Jim Sproul, and Pastor Flora Cheadle. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Cheadle.
CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrants.
AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to accept the agenda as presented.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Judge Myers advised he went to a mental health advisory meeting last Thursday morning and then attended a meeting at the airport that afternoon where Alert Sense gave a demonstration of their product. Myers added it was an amazing system and very affordable. Myers said Ron Yockim, the County Attorney, is reviewing the possible contract and has some questions he wants answered. The annual cost is $2,900. Myers explained the emergency system could contact people through cell phones, laptops, landline telephones, and other devices. Ted Williams said it can put out any kind of emergency alert you wish, including Amber Alerts and school alerts. Local emergency services could also tag on to this program for no additional cost. Myers reported that on Monday he attended an Airport Commission meeting and today will hopefully be the last marijuana ordinance hearing. He said tonight he will attend a meeting at 4 pm at the Canyon City Community Hall regarding flood project easements along with Secretary Laurie Wright who will be notarizing documents. Myers said this coming Friday at 1 pm he will be performing a wedding.
Commissioner Labhart reported last Thursday, December 10th he attended the Health Technology Assessment Subcommittee meeting in Wilsonville. On Friday, December 11th he attended the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Pace and Scale meeting at the Grant County Regional Airport. On Monday, December 14th Labhart attended the Regional Community Advisory Council meeting in Boardman and Tuesday, December 15th he and Treasurer Kathy Smith met with the DeWitt Museum group in Prairie City. Labhart will attend the flood mitigation meeting at 4 pm today at the Canyon City Community Hall and on Friday he will attend the Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Commissioner Britton said he attended the meeting at the airport about the Alert Sense program and he was very impressed with the system. Harney County currently has this program and is very pleased with the system. Alert Sense has agreed to give Grant County the same rate as Harney County for at least three years, which is about $1300 per year less than the current rate. On Thursday, December 10th, Britton attended a stock growers meeting and they are in support of the marijuana ordinance as written. Britton said he attended the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision Pace and Scale meeting on December 11th and he felt it was a very good meeting and Jack Southworth did a great job facilitating the meeting.
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the December 9th minutes as slightly amended.
GC SENIOR CITIZENS ADVISORY COUNCIL. The court reviewed and approved the Grant County Senior Citizens Advisory Council By-Laws submitted by N. Bruce Kaufman, Chair. Labhart advised these are not amended by-laws, just updated. Labhart said the meetings are going well. He said they have had discussions on how old people should be to be on the advisory committee and it was decided 60. MSP: Myers/Labhart-- to circulate and sign the updated Senior Citizens Advisory Council By-Laws as submitted.
CANYON CREEK REHAB PROJECT. Scott Fairley, Eastern Region Coordinator, updated the court on the Canyon Creek Channel Rehabilitation Project. Fairley said he has been working with Ferguson Engineering & Surveying on this project for the last couple of months and coordinating behind the scenes to get the temporary flood berm going. He reported meetings are scheduled for tonight at 4 pm and 5:30 pm at the Canyon City Community Center to get affected homeowners to sign flood plain development permits and easements. Fairley said they attempted to get the recording fees waived for this project, but it is a statutory requirement and so the fees couldn’t be waived. Myers advised the court has already passed a motion to pay the fees from the county court legal line. Fairley said the hope is to get as much paperwork done at the meetings tonight as possible and once the paperwork is completed the berm project can start right away. Fairley said he believes once the first phase of the flood berm project is completed the focus will turn to the long term phase. Myers asked how long it took to fill sandbags by hand. Ted Williams reported it took a day and a half to fill 1500 sandbags.
9:41 am Andrea Officer entered 9:43 am Kathy Smith entered
Fairley explained they are working to locate possible impoundment sites. Fairley, Kenny Delano, Judge Myers and Jason Kehrberg have discussed putting together an application for an Oregon Water Resource Department Feasibility Grant. Ferguson Engineering has been working with the Soil and Water Conservation District to identify some good sites. Fairley said they will run the sites by the county court for a nod of approval and based will then put in an application. The applications are due on February 1st so time is an issue. Myers said after the holidays they will be visiting some potential sites. Britton said he would like to see the Warm Springs Tribe included as a partner and feels this will be very beneficial. Myers said locations should be looked at that have natural barriers to fish. Britton added he would prefer the impoundment sites not be located on federal ground. Fairley said once the feasibility study is completed they can move forward with applying for the grant.
VICTIM ASSISTANCE GRANT. Andrea Officer, Victim’s Assistance Program Director, presented information regarding a one-time non-competitive VOCA grant application to pay for a new case management program. Officer asked for the court’s permission to apply for this grant. This grant will let them update to the Karpel computer system that the circuit court is mandated to use. Officer advises this is a guaranteed grant; she just needs to apply for it. She said they budgeted low but are going to ask for the full amount on the grant. Myers asked who would track the grant and submit all the required reports. Officer said she would. Officer added in the future she is going to be attending several different trainings. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to give Andrea Officer permission to apply for VOCA grant.
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX RATE. Kathy Smith, Treasurer, informed the court that the CPI-W rates for the first 10 months of 2015 have been negative all year and this will result in a negative rate for the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for wages. The Sheriff Union contract states that they will receive a minimum of a 1% COLA. Smith said that normally when there is a requirement in one department like this the county gives all employees the same COLA. Discussion followed about approving a 1% COLA for all county employees for the next fiscal year. Smith added the road union has a minimum of 0% but feels that as a good faith gesture for future negotiations the county might consider giving the 1% to them as well. Britton said giving the 1% would violate the road union contract and Labhart agreed with him. Britton also agreed with Smith but said he would like some clarification from the union that this gesture will be remembered. Myers said he will contact the union representative to clarify that giving the 1% won’t violate the current contract and this gesture will be remembered in future negotiations. MSP: Britton/Myers-- to approve a 1% COLA for next fiscal year for all non-union county employees and the sheriff’s department. Labhart voted no on this motion because he doesn’t feel a union should be telling the county what to do with its employees. He said he feels our employees should be paid at least what the union employees receive or higher.
GRANT FUNDS - RESOLUTION 15-33. Kathy Smith advised the court the Community Corrections Department received unexpected funds ($4,500) from the HB2712 grant from the State of Oregon for operation and maintenance of the department. Due to the receipt of these funds a resolution must be created to receive the funds and to appropriate the funds to materials and services. MSP: Myers/Britton - to approve Resolution 15-33 and circulate for signing.
COMMUNICATION SITE AGREEMENTS. The court reviewed the Dixie Mountain Communications Site Agreements and Fall Mountain Site Agreement that expire on December 31, 2015, and are up for renewal. The Dixie Mountain Site Agreements are between the county and Grant County Fire Defense Board, Day Wireless Systems, Blue Mountain Hospital and Prairie Wood Products. The Fall Mountain Site Agreement is between the county and Blue Mountain Hospital District. The new site agreements will extend the leases to December 31, 2018. These are three signature documents and were circulated for signing.
ROAD DEPARTMENT SANDBAGGER MACHINE. Alan Hickerson, Road Master, sent a proposal to the court requesting permission to allow the road department to purchase a Sandbagger Machine. Filling sandbags is very labor intensive. Hickerson reported that an AmeriCorps Team filled 500 sandbags in three hours and the Sandbagger Machine will fill approximately 400-500 bags per hour. The machine is also transportable and can be taken where needed. The three quotes obtained by the road department are as follows:
• $6,468.00, shipping included (new, 2 chute) from the Sandbagger, LLC
• $5,000.00, plus shipping of approximately $1000 (used, 2 chute) from ebay
• $5,600.00, plus shipping (used, 2 chute) from 1st Army Supply
Britton said he feels like the road department has the capability to build one of these themselves. Myers was concerned they might not have the time to build this right now. Britton suggested someone locally might also be able to build this as well. Labhart and Britton feel the machine design is fairly simple. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the purchase of a Sandbagger Machine if other arrangements can’t be made for the road department or someone locally to build one.
10:36 am Jim Carpenter entered
COURTHOUSE CLOSURE – ASBESTOS ABATEMENT. Judge Myers advised those in attendance the courthouse would be closed to all employees and the public on Friday, January 15th, 2016, through January 18th, 2016, for asbestos abatement. The contractor (Alpine) will be in the building from January 15 through January 18 to remove asbestos tile from the common areas (hallways, stairs and conference room) of the courthouse. No one will be allowed in the building during this time frame and there will be no exceptions. Jim Sproul asked why the offices weren’t being done yet and Kathy Smith stated it is because it must be done in phases because there isn’t any place to put things. Myers added that all other county offices will remain open on January 15th. The employees in the courthouse will be paid for the 15th because they are being forced to go home and cannot work.
10:45 am Lane Burton entered
ASSESSOR VACANCY. Myers opened the discussion about the assessor vacancy due to the resignation of Assessor Lane Burton and explained the statute providing the deputy assessor to fill in after Burton’s retirement. Burton said he believes the court should ask the individual directly if she is willing to do this.
10:47 am Hilary McNary, Shannon Springer, Karen Officer and Brenda Percy entered
Myers explained to Chief Deputy Assessor Karen Officer the provisions of ORS 236.220 which allows the county governing body to appoint someone to fill the assessor position or allow the chief deputy assessor to serve as interim assessor until an election is held to fill this position. Myers asked Officer if she would assume this role if requested by the court to do so. Officer said she would be willing to do this. Brenda Percy added Officer’s title needs to remain the same to protect her retirement. Britton stated the court would follow the statute and asking Officer is a matter of respect. Britton thanked Burton for his service to Grant County and Myers echoed those sentiments. Britton added Burton’s office staff is extremely well trained and he is leaving the department in good hands. Labhart said it was nice to see an employee who had worked his way up in a department. Burton added he is the most tenured assessor in the State of Oregon having served 35 years in this position.
10:53 am Karen Barrietua and Gary Gregg entered
PUBLIC HEARING – PROPOSED FLOOD ORDINANCE. Myers called the public hearing to order. Planning Director Hilary McNary and Planning Secretary Shannon Springer presented a proposed flood ordinance to the court, attached as Exhibit A. McNary said if items in the document are outlined in red it means they are more permissive than the current ordinance. McNary stated that after the wild fire this summer, and the risk for potential flooding, the county is under the microscope to comply with National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements. She said without NFIP compliance people would pay substantially more for flood insurance, if they could even obtain it. Christine Shirley, Flood Specialist for the Department of Land Conservation and Development, informed McNary that Grant County is not in compliance with NFIP requirements and in order to gain compliance the county needs to update its ordinance. Shirley recommended the planning department use the template she provided that has been approved by FEMA. McNary stated Canyon City recently adopted this same ordinance and John Day already had one of its own. McNary expects a community assistance visit from Christine Shirley to make sure the county is in compliance with NFIP. She reports this process was not very pleasant for Harney County. Labhart asked what the requirement was to update flood plain maps. McNary said she has heard FEMA rotates the preparation of the flood plain maps and said we are probably very low priority because of our small population. She said the old FEMA maps are completely inadequate, but these are the maps we are required to utilize. McNary said this ordinance was forwarded to the county court for approval after it was reviewed and approved by the planning commission. Springer added the commission didn’t like the process, but didn’t feel like there was any choice if people were to remain NFIP compliant so flood insurance could even be purchased. Springer stated if our community is not NFIP complaint there is no guarantee flood insurance would be available to residents here. McNary summarized additions and changes to the proposed ordinance. Britton asked who is responsible for enforcing this ordinance. McNary said the court is responsible for this as it is according to the current ordinance already in place. McNary doesn’t think this ordinance will affect any new constituents because the maps are not changing. This ordinance affects new development. Springer said this currently affects approximately 337 people and 350-360 properties in the county; it does not affect anyone within the cities. Britton clarified the county court could decide whether or not to cite a landowner for violating the ordinance. McNary said this is true, but FEMA could fine the county if the proper permits are not in place. Gary Gregg asked about past work on gold dredge tailings. Any movement of tailings now required a flood plain permit. McNary stated as long as the work was completed prior to the 1986 map there is no issue. Karen Barrietua asked if her home on Canton Street would be in the flood plain. Springer said that flood plain isn’t the county’s to administer, it is the City of John Day’s and she should check with them. Jim Sproul said the problem he sees with this ordinance is allowing an outside agency to police what goes on in the county. Britton would like to review this matter further. McNary said that is fine as long as the court continues it to a date and time certain. MSP: Myers/Britton – to continue this hearing to allow for further review and public comment to 11:00 am on January 13, 2016.
12:05 pm Adjourned
2:30 pm In session for marijuana ordinance hearing
PROPOSED MARIJUANA ORDINANCE HEARING CONTINUATION. The following people were in attendance for the hearing: Judge Myers, Commissioner Britton, Commissioner Labhart, Secretary Laurie Wright, Sean Hart (BME Editor), Loreen Cooper, Paul Cooper, Jerry Russell, Jeff Thomas, Bruce Strange, James Vaughan, Jerry Cowger, Tom Burns, Eva Harris, Jerry Barrow, Sue Stovall, Leo Placencia, Jacquelyn Friese, Richard Friese, Leon Skiles, Ted Phelps, Theda Phelps, Larry Vote, Jim Sproul, Eric Julsrud, Russell Comer, Terry Taylor, Dan Bishop, King Williams, Lisa Weigum, Shannon Springer, Jonathan Bartov, Carolyn Mullin, Joe Clarke, Chauncy Groves, Brian Gentis, Taylor Clegg, David Kilpatrick, Shay Love, Brenton Groves, Rob Raschio, Karen Chadwick, Kathryn Kloske, Steven Smith and Les Church.
Judge Myers explained the process for public comment again and stated Labhart will be timing each speaker.
In favor of the ordinance as written.
Dan Bishop of Prairie City said he was in favor of the ordinance.
Joe Clarke of Long Creek said he is in favor of the ordinance.
Carolyn Mullin said she is in favor of the ordinance.
Britton read a message from Rich Moore who sent an email supporting the ordinance and who said if the court couldn’t decide it should be put to the voters; and a message from Sharon Livingston in support of the ordinance. Larry Blasing also sent a message stating he supported the ordinance.
Bruce Strange said he is in favor of the ordinance.
Jerry Cowger stated he supports the ordinance as it is.
Bruce Strange asked for clarification of the earlier vote the county voted 65% on and Myers explained that vote was to legalize recreational marijuana and this ordinance does not affect medical marijuana.
Ted Phelps supports the ban as it is. Theda Phelps supports the ban as it is.
Opposed to the ordinance as written.
Les Church stated he has owned a construction business in this county for many years and he feels it is a shame to do this prohibition and it will make criminals out of otherwise honest entrepreneurs.
Eva Harris said she was against the ordinance and that Grant County hates government bureaucracy and loves to pass measures they may not understand. She said Oregon law defines the legal requirements for location and security measures of grow sites, processors and dispensaries. Harris does not feel this ordinance protects anyone and will not stop the growing, selling, processing and using of marijuana. It will only keep the growing and processing in the black market. Harris added this prohibition gives law enforcement more opportunities and obligations to make more arrests and put people in jail at huge cost to our taxpayers. She said if her activities are within Oregon law and she isn’t hurting anyone or anything, leave her alone. This ordinance should not be passed.
Karen Chadwick said if we are going to have a store this is a good place for one because our area is fairly protected and there is no freeway nearby. She said we need this money in our economy to help pay for essential services such as our hospitals and emergency services. Chadwick went on that our taxes and utility bills keep rising because there is not enough money here. She is extremely upset about this ordinance. Chadwick stated her friend cannot afford to pay $100 every time she needs to go out of town to get her medicine. She said it is very hard on people, especially senior citizens who need the help the most. She urged the court to vote for “us”. Chadwick said that property taxes might even go down if more money comes into the county.
Sue Stovall stated she is against the ordinance as written and she knows the ordinance was thought to be in the best interest of the county, but with all due respect she doesn’t feel it is. She feels the best interests of the county would be the creation of jobs and the revenue generated. Stovall feels the revenue should be kept here and not sent out of county.
Jeff Thomas is here representing the Grant County Farm Bureau. He said last week the Oregon Farm Bureau overwhelmingly passed a policy recognizing cannabis in Oregon as an agricultural crop. Thomas stated that the organization had to put their personal feelings, ethics and morals aside and follow the law that was passed. The farm bureau for years has been against county ordinances regulating and banning certain agricultural crops. The farm bureau feels agricultural crops should be regulated on a state basis, not a county by county basis. Thomas added this has nothing to do with the retail side, just the production side. He feels the court should really consider the negative impact of not having the tax revenue here. Thomas added the farm bureau would support the county court with whatever they decided, but they do recognize cannabis as an agricultural crop.
Tom Burns said he appreciates the comments from the farm bureau. He represents Chalice Farms and said they own 4 parcels of land here and want to grow here and wants to know if the court is willing to turn its back on a 2 million dollar per acre business opportunity. If Chalice Farms grew on each parcel they owned here it would bring in approximately 2 million dollars per parcel in revenue. Burns said this is an agricultural crop that will bring revenue into this county. Burns stated he has traveled all over the county and all over the world, but he has never seen a city where a McDonald’s closed and he wonders if this is a result of the economy here. He added our county needs new revenues. Burns sent a modified ordinance to the court which removed item “C” from it. Burns said the proposed county ordinance will not stop the personal use and growing of marijuana and will not have any bearing on the medical marijuana side of this. Britton advised the McDonald’s closed because of a corporate decision that they want to leave the Pacific Northwest and it had nothing to do with Grant County. Burns apologized but added the county would have the opportunity to replace some of those lost jobs if it allowed cannabis grows in the county.
Rob Raschio stated he feels this ordinance is an anti-business measure and will have a deep impact on the ability to create jobs in this county. The county has an opportunity to create some much needed economic revenue here. He feels the county cuts off its nose to spite its face if this ordinance passes. He urged the court to not pass this ordinance.
Richard Friese would like to ask if the 2 million dollars Burns referred to is tax revenue to the county or taxable revenue. Burns clarified this would be the profit to the grower; the tax revenue would be calculated through many different formulas. Friese doesn’t see any problem with having marijuana here and getting the revenue from it.
Joe Clarke asked why here and not on the west side. Burns said it is because of our growing season and how many frost free days we have here. He stated it is not a plant that likes rain and requires about a 6 month growing season. Jerry Russell added it is because it is sunny here and it will grow well here.
Jerry Russell said the citizens voted generally to not legalize marijuana and he feels like if the citizens were to vote on the six items in the ordinance things would be different. He doesn’t think the voters would be opposed to growing marijuana here and shipping it out.
Jeff Thomas asked if the county had looked into the tax rates from this for property taxes. Britton and Myers said they haven’t looked into it that far yet. Labhart said he understands the county court could enter into agreements with the growers to set a tax rate. Russell advised that if the county bans everything there will be no tax revenue and he is offering a 3% tax on any revenue he receives that would be paid directly to the county.
Paul Cooper lives in Monument and has two tax lots. He wants to grow 2 one acre spots. Cooper said the tax revenue alone at 3% would give the county approximately $60,000 per grow each year and he would employ probably 10 people full time. He said as a business owner he wants to grow marijuana and employ people. The law was passed legalizing marijuana and people are still going to do this and the county will not gain anything by banning marijuana other than losing jobs and tax revenue. Cooper urged the court to remove item “C” from the ordinance and allow growing here. He also asked where the other 65% of voters were who voted against legalization.
Jonathan Bartov stated he wanted to talk about compromise in the legislative process. He said that by striking item “C” from the ordinance the county would make a fair compromise with those people who are against marijuana and with those people who want to grow marijuana. Bartov said by striking “C” the county can start small and this will have less of a visual impact on the county. In Bartov’s opinion way to respect both sides is through compromise. Bartov would like someone to explain the ramifications of waiting and the loss of economic opportunities.
Eva Harris would like to reiterate the State of Oregon has put safety issues in place already. If the county opts out the potential illegal activities will not be monitored like they will if it is allowed in the county. Harris said opting out leaves us in a more dangerous situation.
In favor of the ordinance as written.
Theda Phelps said she is a grandmother and great grandmother and wants to know if everyone has forgotten what has happened to our children and grandchildren. Phelps asked why she should have to compromise on something she feels is evil and wrong. She doesn’t feel it is worth it to compromise your own values and it isn’t worth it to her.
Bruce Strange stated he lives on a dead end road and he is against marijuana. He lives near Mr. Russell as do a lot of the other people in this room. He is against any kind of drugs even though he used his fair share back in his youth. Strange said he had friends who started innocently enough with marijuana and ended up using harder drugs. One friend got arrested for possession of cocaine and went to prison; this same friend later lost a daughter to a drug overdose before he finally cleaned up. Strange said he will not compromise his values for money.
Larry Vote said the federal government does not compromise, it is still illegal. Vote said the law was passed with a caveat to allow the county to opt out and he doesn’t want to see our county become an oasis for this. He owns 1800 acres next to Jerry Russell and he doesn’t want to see people sneaking through his property to get onto Russell’s. He is in support of the ordinance as written.
As requested, Boyd Britton, representing himself as a private citizen and in response to a comment from Mr. Bartov and Mr. Raschio, stated a legislative compromise had already been reached at the state level when marijuana was legalized. Senator Ferrioli proposed the provision for the counties to opt out as a compromise to the counties that voted 55% or higher against legalization. Britton advised the audience if the court approved the ordinance the other potential compromise that could happen would be a citizen’s initiative being brought forward for a vote to change the ordinance.
Loreen Cooper feels the court needs to leave the door open on this matter and change parts of the ordinance.
Scott Myers, as an individual, stated he is in favor of the ordinance as written because the county only has one chance to opt out. Myers feels he and the commissioners are doing what the majority of voters want.
Opposed to the ordinance as written.
Jerry Russell said he can prove the amount of frost free day he has at his property. Russell stated it is each individual’s choice to follow their own morals. He also doesn’t understand why Mr. Vote thinks people will be crossing his property.
Karen Chadwick said she believes if someone voted independent or bi partisan instead of democrat or republican in the election your vote wasn’t counted. Myers told her that was incorrect, every vote counted on Measure 91 in the general election.
David Kilpatrick wanted to advise the court of the actual tax breakdown he found on the OLCC’s website. The tax range is 17-20% and the breakdown is 40% to commonwealth school fund, 20% to mental health alcohol and drug services, 15% to state police, 10% to cities, 10% to counties and 5% to the Oregon Health Authority. Kilpatrick said the county will get some of this money unless the county opts out. He said people here just want to start businesses and we don’t need to be known as anti-business. Kilpatrick stated we really need the money here and will need it in the future.
James Vaughan said he feels the county court has already made its decision and probably had from the beginning of this. He believes in individual freedom. Vaughan said a lot of the issues with marijuana come out of fear and of people’s own choices. He said every addiction he has ever had was his own choice and he stopped on his own. He didn’t need the government or bureaucrat telling him what to do. Vaughan said he has started his own business, the first year was good but this year hasn’t gone well. Vaughan is here to support his fellow Americans. He doesn’t see what the problem is with striking “C” from the ordinance. Vaughan said this ordinance hurts people and doesn’t help a soul.
Rob Raschio stated that the United States National Academy of Science has observed there is no evidence of marijuana serving as a stepping stone and the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs also found cannabis itself is not the cause of other drug abuse. Raschio said he rejects the gateway drug theory and there is no scientific evidence that marijuana leads to other types of drug use. He feels more tax revenue to the county is good thing and people should be able to make a living. Raschio said the federal government has deliberately decided not to prosecute in states that have legalized and are watching the states conduct their experiment. He added the fact that so many counties around us have opted out just enhances the opportunities for our county and our people.
Vaughan agreed with Raschio that marijuana is not a gateway drug.
Chauncy Groves grew up here and was raised here and has been a part of the medical marijuana community for about eight years. He said he has seen the benefits and productivity of what people in this community do. He is in strong opposition to this ordinance.
Jerry Barrow stated he believes most of the people in this room are on pharmaceuticals and there isn’t a pharmaceutical out there that works better than cannabis. Cannabis works well with pharmaceuticals as well. Barrow said people who have started to use cannabis have been able to back off pharmaceuticals. He urged the court to review the information he provided. Barrow said some people are not in a position to grow their own or not physically able to do so.
Paul Cooper asked the court if it was a waste of everyone’s time to attend these hearings and give testimony if the court had already made up their minds why hold hearings? Myers explained the hearings were for the public to give the court information, educate the court members and attempt to change their minds. He added the majority in the room does not necessarily constitute the majority over all. Myers said a lot of people may not come out of fear or because they are working. He said the majority in the room gives a cross section of the people in the room only, it doesn’t give the court the opinion of the people not here or who couldn’t be here.
Britton stated the court held these hearings with the best of intentions to allow them to make intelligent decisions and receive public input.
Myers pointed out most of our neighboring counties held one quick public hearing and then passed their ordinances.
Jerry Russell urged the court to at least vote on removing “C” from the ordinance. He said he hasn’t heard any compelling argument to not remove “C” from the ordinance. Britton said the compelling argument is the 65% of voters who voted against legalization.
MSP: Myers/Labhart – to close the hearing to public testimony and deliberate on a decision.
David Kilpatrick asked Commissioner Labhart to make a motion to strike “C” from the ordinance. Labhart said right now they are dealing with the original ordinance. Labhart stated he was shocked by the farm bureau testimony from Jeff Thomas and he was impressed Thomas could put his own personal feelings aside. Labhart is concerned with the loss of jobs and taxes here. Myers said they are deliberating to vote on this ordinance as written, not as amended. Labhart stated as an emergency ordinance this ordinance requires a unanimous vote from the court and he will not vote on this ordinance. Myers said a unanimous vote was only required if the court met in one emergency session and this was not that format. Britton spoke with legal counsel today and it only takes a majority to pass this ordinance today. Labhart asked when this changed and Britton said it had not, see ORS 203.405(9).
Labhart would like to modify the ordinance to leave everything in place in the ordinance but remove “C” and wanted to make a motion to this effect. Myers said a motion was already on the floor. Labhart stated he would have liked to have known legal counsel had been contacted and to have been advised of what was going on. Britton said he just found out and called the attorney on the way to this hearing. Labhart asked him why he waited until the third hearing for this. Myers stated he feels they have a moral obligation to sign this ordinance based on the original vote and the citizens have the right to seek an initiative and the only accurate way to gauge the voter’s opinion is by vote. Britton agrees with Myers. Britton told Labhart he wasn’t attempting to be sneaky, he was just trying to find out what was correct from legal counsel. Myers said this is a three signature document so they don’t have to vote.
Myers said he intends to sign the ordinance, Britton said he intends to sign the ordinance and Labhart refused to sign the ordinance.
4:00 pm -- Adjourned
County Court Secretary